National Estate Planning Awareness Week Oct. 21-27, 2019

Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional
Senior Vice President | Wealth Advisor

Estate Planning is a vital component of every financial plan, regardless of the size of the estate. Unfortunately, it’s also an area that is commonly overlooked.

Providing for your future and that of your family, and even for future generations, can be a daunting task. It requires having access to a resource that can expertly guide you through the complexities of changing tax and estate laws, volatile financial markets, and your own shifting personal circumstances. We are a resource in your community, one that may even have been working with you as you built the legacy you now want to protect.

With over 100 years of experience in providing personal trust and estate planning services to families throughout the Chicagoland area and well beyond, O2 Wealth Management is such a resource, one you can rely on to not only advise you, but serve as:

  • Trustee of your revocable living trust or testamentary trust
  • Guardian of the estate of a disabled individual
  • Executor of your estate
  • Agent for your investment account

Count on O2 Wealth Management for your estate and wealth management solutions!

Not insured by the FDIC nor any govt institution; Not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, the depository financial institution; Subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal amount invested.

Leveling Up Retirement Savings With 401ks

Yamilet Suarez
Assistant Vice President/Wealth Advisor

35% of private sector workers over the age of 22 don’t work for a company that offers a plan.*

Yamilet Suarez, Assistant Vice President/Wealth AdvisorWhether you’re excited about your first day of full-time employment or starting to count the years to your last, your retirement savings plan should be on your mind. It’s the key to ensuring whatever comes your way later in life, you’ll have the money available to pay for it, even though you’re no longer working.

Starting Early Offers A Big Advantage

Saving early and often can you speed along the road to financial independence thanks to compounding returns over time. Even if you are only saving the equivalent of your monthly latte budget early on, over time you’ll be able to build a nice nest egg without feeling like you scrimped to save for it. Delaying and trying to get your savings back on track when you are older, takes much larger deposits since you have less time to save making it a much rougher road.

401Ks Supercharge Savings

While saving on your own gets results, saving money using a retirement account can significantly amplify any deposits you make. Retirement contribution plans, like the 401k plans offered by many companies, are tax-advantaged accounts.
With traditional 401k plans, the money you put into the account is not counted as ordinary income, so it’s not taxed. This lowers your overall tax bill for each year you contribute. The amount you contribute also grows on a tax-deferred basis until the money is withdrawn, which can help your balances grow faster. When you do make withdrawals, they’ll be taxed as if they are ordinary income. Since many people have a lower tax rate in retirement than when they were working, this adds to the advantage.

The Roth Difference

Roth 401ks are a little different from traditional 401ks. Contributions to Roth accounts are made with after-tax dollars. So, your contributions offer no immediate tax advantage. However, at retirement, once the Roth 401k is rolled over to a Roth IRA, and that Roth IRA is opened for five years, no taxes are due on your accumulated savings or after that…ever…making this type of account very attractive. It is highly recommended to open and maintain a ROTH IRA account aside from your employer-sponsored ROTH 401k. By doing this, the five-year time clock is started much earlier.

Six Tips for 401K Retirement Savings Success

To get the most out of your retirement savings plan, here are some useful tips.

  1. Not all 401k plans are created equally. Get as much information from your employer as you can before investing.
  2. Say “yes” to matching. If your employer offers to match your contributions, save at least enough to earn the maximum contribution each year. It’s like free money, something you receive in addition to your salary and any bonuses.
  3. It’s okay to set and forget it. Many people really aren’t into managing investment portfolios, so most employer plans offer target-date funds. These funds allow you to select a date near your planned retirement date, whether that is in 35 years or three. The money you invest is managed in a way appropriate for your timeframe. You don’t have to make any additional decisions.
  4. Just ask. If there is something you don’t understand, ask for help. After all, it’s your money. Most employer plans have a contact person you can talk to. And, if you want a second opinion, stop by the bank, we are happy to help.
  5. Keep your eye on the prize. Retirement is a long way off, what happens in the markets or to the economy during a single day, week or even a year, is like noise when you’re investing for 15-35 years from now.
  6. Start gradually. Get used to saving by starting with an amount that is comfortable. As you earn raises or bonuses, siphon off a portion of them toward retirement. Once you are on your way, sit down with a wealth advisor to determine what you do need to save to achieve your goals.

If you lack access to a retirement account at work, work for yourself or own a business that is too small to support a 401k plan, come in and talk to us. There are several tax-advantaged accounts you can consider to help boost your retirement savings. We’re always happy to talk you through your options. Contact me at 630-844-8633.

*This is an outbound link that will take you away from the WordPress blog. Before you go, we want to let you know that you are accessing a resource that includes data not hosted on our website. This service has been provided for your convenience only. It does not imply that Old Second Bank endorses or sponsors the information you will be viewing. We also cannot guarantee its accuracy or that your privacy will be maintained should you choose to disclose any personal information while on the linked site. Also, please be aware that the products and services offered on third-party sites, including investment and insurance products, are not products of Old Second Bank and may not be insured by the FDIC.

National Data Privacy Day: Minimizing Your Risks

Robert M. Duplessis, CRISC, CISM, CBVM
Senior Vice President/Information Security Officer

Every January 28, security experts observe National Data Privacy Day, though the reason is far from celebratory. Instead, the day is devoted to raising awareness about the risks of sharing data in daily life. Over the years that awareness has evolved from warnings that using birthdays as PINs is a bit risky to the new reality that the privacy of data—everyone’s data—is under constant attack.

Hacker attacks on computers now launch at a rate of every 39 seconds*. Breaches that result in records being stolen are occurring at a rate of 158,727 per hour*! Worse, the pools of information available to be hacked are increasing, thanks to the growth of the internet of things (IoT).

The New Normal: Data in Motion
You may actively use settings to restrict public access to your social media accounts and practice good self-policing of your personal data. However, every time you shop for books or boots online, ask your voice-activated device a trivia question, stream videos or even send your DNA to a lab to learn about your ancestry, you are giving up valuable data about yourself. And, if you are like most people, you do so without considering the security risks.

IoT attacks were up 600% in 2017.

7 Ways to Play Defense
While it may seem as if society in general has already lost the war on privacy, that doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself against personal loss. There are tools you can use and actions you can take to keep your data from being turned against you. Here are a few of these.

  1. Know how those you deal with treat your information. Read our privacy policy, along with the policies of any site or service you access, to make sure they are protective of their customers’ data before you give them yours.
  2. Conduct an annual audit of your data. Determine where it is and what each organization you deal with knows about you. Uninstall any old apps—the older they are and the less frequently they are updated, the more vulnerable they are to hacking.More than 75% of the health care industry was infected with malware last year.
  3. Monitor your credit reports. The FDIC recommends visiting* or calling 877-322-8228 to acquire a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus. These reports function as early detection systems if someone is trying to borrow your identity.
  4. Be an early filer. Because many security breaches in the retail and health care industries have compromised social security numbers, file your tax return as early as possible, especially if you anticipate a refund. Fraudulent filings delay refunds for months while the IRS straightens things out.Three industries were responsible for 95% of the records stolen in 2016.
  5. Don’t trust, before you verify. Before giving up any information online through an email or text, verify that the person or company asking for it is legit. Hover over the address line to see where the email is really coming from. Verify any phone numbers through an independent online search before calling.71% of cyber attacks begin with phishing emails.
  6. Use tools designed to keep your information safe. Our Trusteer Rapport is security software that protects your online banking communications from being stolen. It works in addition to any antivirus or firewalls and is designed to catch fraud immediately. We also offer Security Manager, an authentication product for businesses or personal customers that generates passcodes via text and works in conjunction with your current security features.Small businesses were the target of 43% of cyber attacks.
  7. Secure you debit card. When you misplace your debit card, use our SecurLOCK™ Equip Mobile App to turn your debit card on and off and monitor spending.

Working Hard to Keep You Safe
It’s unfortunate that every time you touch a screen or pay by phone, credit or debit card you give up some personal information. We are committed to helping you protect your most valued possessions.

Whenever you have any doubts about your bank accounts, visit our FAQ section. Also, feel free to contact us online or call 877-866-0202. We are always happy to talk through your concerns, privately.

  1. Sobers, Rob. “60 Must-Know Cybersecurity Statistics for 2019.” Varonis. Web. January 2, 2019. <*>
  2. “13 Alarming Cyber Security Facts and Stats.” Cybint. Web. December 3, 2018. <*>
  3. “13 Alarming Cyber Security Facts and Stats.”
  4. Sobers, Rob. “60 Must-Know Cybersecurity Statistics for 2019.”
  5. “13 Alarming Cyber Security Facts and Stats.”

*This is an outbound link that will take you away from the WordPress blog. Before you go, we want to let you know that you are accessing a resource that includes data not hosted on our website. This service has been provided for your convenience only. It does not imply that Old Second Bank endorses or sponsors the information you will be viewing. We also cannot guarantee its accuracy or that your privacy will be maintained should you choose to disclose any personal information while on the linked site. Also, please be aware that the products and services offered on third-party sites, including investment and insurance products, are not products of Old Second Bank and may not be insured by the FDIC. Thank you and hope to see you back here soon.

New Year Review: 10 Tips for Prepping Your Finances for 2019

Jacqueline Runnberg CFP®, First Vice President Wealth Advisor 

The new year is here, and it’s time to start looking ahead. Whether your hope for 2019 includes a new home, vacation, retirement or a new addition to the family, it’s a good time to pause and make sure your finances are aligned with your plans.

Financial Actions to Take Now

Each year, we work through a checklist with our wealth management clients to make sure whatever the new year brings, they’re financially prepared for it. Here’s what’s on the list.

#1: Check your emergency savings balance. Since this money is used now and again, it may need replenishing. Also, if your family’s situation and expenses have changed over the past year, revisit your target balance to make sure it’s sufficient.

#2: Compare expected income to expenses. Examine your household’s expected monthly income for 2019 in relation to your anticipated expenditures to see if any adjustments are needed. With the increases in inflation and real estate taxes in many area suburbs, it’s a good time to review the family budget.

#3: Look at your account statements. Volatility in the investment markets during 2018 could have caused your asset allocations to shift. Make sure your portfolio reflects your long-term needs and your tolerance for risk. If it doesn’t, rebalance it to a point where you can sleep comfortably at night.

#4: Preview your 2018 tax bill. The best time to think about the taxes you’ll be paying in 2019 is in 2018 while you still have an opportunity to reduce them. See if you can harvest tax losses in order to offset any capital gains you’ve taken throughout the year. Also, check to make sure you’ve been withholding enough to cover what you will owe in April to avoid penalties.

#5: Calculate your net worth. Knowing where you stand today and comparing that to where you want to be next year, in five years or by the time you reach retirement helps you assess your progress toward your goals. Adding up assets while subtracting liabilities is the quickest way to develop a financial road map.

#6: Reevaluate retirement plan contributions. Speaking of retirement, as you start 2019, look at where your retirement plan stands. Depending on how much longer you’ll be contributing toward this goal, you might want to make adjustments.

#7: Review estate plans, account titles and beneficiaries. Family circumstances can change from year to year. Make sure your estate plans and the titling on your assets—including 401k, brokerage and bank accounts—continues to reflect your ultimate wishes.

#8: Price shop insurance policies. Insurance is an area where needs and rates can change over time. Request new bids on your auto, life and homeowners’ policies to ensure you’re not paying more than you need to for the coverage you require today.

#9: Revisit your charitable giving strategy. Tax changes that took effect in 2018 may impact when you make gifts to charities. Review your strategy with your tax advisor to make sure you’re being generous as well as tax-smart.

#10: Verify that your legal documents are current. Make sure your will, trust, health care directives and power of attorney documents are current, both in terms of who they name and to reflect changes in the legal and tax codes.

Annually reviewing your finances lets you head into the new year with a better idea of what you want to accomplish and how you will do it. If we can be of any help as you do this or if you want to discuss how to develop a plan for achieving your life goals, give us a call at 630-906-2000 or visit us at Here’s wishing you a prosperous and joyous 2019!



Not insured by the FDIC nor any govt institution; Not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, the depository financial institution; Subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal amount invested.

5 Myths That Keep Millennials From Becoming Homeowners

Frederick Nosal — First Vice President, Residential Lending

Though most Millennials are already well down the path of “adulting,” with careers, car and student loan repayments, and even starting to save for retirement, many haven’t taken a critical next step in their financial lives: homeownership.

Behind this hesitation are a handful of persistent myths.

Myth# 1: Renting saves me money.

Rent is an expense you pay to live in someone else’s real estate investment. If you were spending that same amount on a mortgage payment, you would actually be investing in an asset you own. It would be yours to sell and borrow against. It could even appreciate over time, which would help you build long-term wealth. Here’s a calculator that can help you put this in dollars—potentially your own.

Myth#2: I don’t make enough to buy a home.

You may not be able to buy your dream home right away, but the odds are good you can find one you’d be comfortable owning and can already afford. After all, you won’t be paying for your home all at once. While you can try different scenarios online to see what’s affordable, we recommend first-timers talk to an Old Second Mortgage banker. Not all mortgages are alike. Some lenders, like Old Second, participate in a variety of programs for first-time buyers that make affordability easier. 

Myth# 3: I still have student loans, so I can’t get a mortgage.

While your student loan balance may seem high, just focusing on how much you owe can be misleading. The amount you are required to pay back each month is what influences your mortgage approval. Also, federal student loan programs offer numerous options to ensure your payments are affordable, even with a car loan and mortgage payment. Many borrowers are able to make adjustments that allow them to comfortably repay their debt and make a housing move.

Myth# 4: It’ll be years before I can afford a down payment.

While experienced homebuyers typically make a larger down payment, first-time mortgage programs can require far less. Some are available with as little as a $1,000 investment. Depending on where you live, you may be able to access grants that cover a portion or all your down payment. This is where working with an Old Second Mortgage banker comes in handy. We can help you access the right programs for your situation. 

Myth# 5: Owning a home is a big responsibility.

While having a big property can mean a lot of yardwork and maintenance, you have options that reduce the “sweat equity” associated with homeownership. From new construction to high-rise condos or townhomes with shared maintenance costs, you can own without giving up your weekends to home maintenance chores.

Myth #6: Getting a mortgage is complicated.

You don’t have to do this alone. Talk to us. We listen and are always ready to answer questions. The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask, so ask us anything. We’ll help you understand what’s affordable, calculate how much different types of properties will cost and prequalify you so it’s easier to work with a real estate agent.

We’re here—online, by phone and in person. As your community bank, we aren’t going anywhere. So, ready when you are. After all, you may not do this every day, but we do.

An Interview with Director Patti Temple Rocks

by Robert DiCosola


Patti Temple Rocks has been a Director of Old Second Bancorp since 2015. She is a member of the Board’s Compensation Committee and IT Steering Commit- tee. She has had a distinguished career in the Advertising, Marketing and Communications space, and has held various leadership positions for some industry-leading corporations.

Her most recent role was Managing Director/Client Innovation Officer for Golin, a global communications agency. Previous career highlights include Vice President of Public Affairs, Brand and Reputation for The Dow Chemical Company, and Chief Reputation Officer for Leo Burnett Worldwide. Currently, Patti is Founder and Head of Temple Rocks Consulting, where she is utilizing her marketing and communications experience and expertise for clients looking for growth, both for their business and of their people.

“Patti, with your many years of experience in advertising, marketing and communications, talk to us about how that experience has translated into helpful perspectives and insights as a director for a financial institution.”

PTR: “My background is certainly different than some of the other directors, many of whom are from the financial services industry. My approach at first was to listen closely to the issues and challenges facing the Bank at the Board level, and then make contributions within my areas of expertise. I think that (Board members from) different industries are very relevant to the overall decision

making because of the different perspectives they bring. For example, I noticed that the consumer challenges facing the banking industry are similar to those facing other industries—how to market their products and services to the Millennial demographic and to Gen Z–the next generation after Millennials–and how predictive analytics can play a role in that decision-making process.”

“When you were initially approached as a possible candidate for Old Second’s Board of Directors, what were some of your thoughts out of the gate? What ultimately led you to accept the directorship?”

PTR: “I was intrigued, to say the least, as one of my long-term personal goals has been to serve on a publicly traded board of directors. I did have some concern about my lack of direct experience in financial services but I also knew that in today’s complex environment, boards are expected to ask questions and challenge the status quo to some extent, and not simply be a rubber stamp. I could tell from my conversations with the Bank’s management and other directors that there were highly capable people guiding the Bank with deep financial experience. I felt confident that I could add something differ- ent and hopefully complementary to what they already had. With that perspective, I was honored to say yes to the OSBC opportunity.”

“What would you say are three of the most critical competencies, characteristics or credentials of an effective Board member?”

PTR: “Curiosity is one of the most important…As Board members, we need to have the capacity to ask thought-provoking and challenging questions. (For example): ‘If we didn’t do that, what might happen?’

“Another important characteristic is empa- thy. As directors, we can add value by considering the perspective of customers and employees. At the end of the day, an unengaged employee base will almost always result in disappointed customers. If we can assist Bank management with insights regarding the overall customer experience, that’s a value-add.”

“The last one would be preparation. It’s never a good idea to attend a board or committee meeting blind, without advance preparation. When I first started with the Bank’s Board, there were a zillion acronyms I had to familiarize myself with, such as the OCC and OREO loans and many others that were simply not a part of my normal vocabulary. I couldn’t pretend that I knew what these were…I needed clarification so that I could be conversant and relevant to the discussion. I am very grateful that my fellow directors were very patient with me as I asked questions!”

“Diversity and Inclusion is an important reality for successful companies these days, including here at Old Second. Can you give us some examples of how D/I played an important role in a company’s success?”

PTR: “Without question, Diversity is essential to a company’s success, but not in a numbers-oriented, quota-based way. And there is no Inclusion without Diversity, and vice versa. In an effort to become more diverse, companies need to be careful to not make inappropriate hires that ultimately become bad hires—and often at no fault of the person hired. A diverse hire who is not on-boarded with care is never going to feel included in the organization. Companies need to take even greater care to make sure they have an inclusive environment to welcome the diverse hires into.

“I also believe very strongly in a broad view of Diversity. It is not simply skin color, gender or sexual preference. The best practice today is a workplace that not only looks different from the outside but is also one that values a variety of experiences and perspectives. For me, personally, I believe it is much more important to value my career experiences and insights as a working mom and a 50+ professional than simply the fact that I’m a female. One example that comes to mind is from the auto industry in the 1980’s…- Ford engineers developed ‘pregnancy bellies’ and asked their design engineers to wear them to understand how to design cars for families—including families with pregnant women. While their intentions were good and they got a lot of good PR for the effort, why not just hire some competent women engineers instead of outfitting the men?

“A workforce segment that seems to be getting overlooked these days, and a particular passion of mine, is the older worker. I’m writing a book that addresses this issue: #I’m Not- Done: It’s Time to Talk about Ageism in the Workplace. We must work to remove the stereotype that some workers lose value and relevance after a certain age.”

“What positive signs do you see going forward for the banking industry? What about challenges?”

PTR: “With the greatly improving economy, the future is looking much brighter for financial institutions. The days of banks being constantly slammed and criticized appear to be over, and trust has been established again. That’s the good news, but one of the challenges I see is providing relevant banking experiences to the generations coming up. Traditional brick-and-mortar banks simply are not an important part of their lives…Everything they do banking-wise is mobile, digital. This is very different from previous generations who still prefer one-on-one, in- person transactions. This will require entirely different approaches to what we offer and how we do it to ensure that the services the Bank provide are valued by all these age groups.”

“What makes Old Second Bank’s Mission meaningful to you?”

PTR: I would describe Old Second’s Mission in one word: authentic. You can determine a lot about a company’s culture if you would just ‘turn off the volume and watch the movie.’ I guess another way of saying that is pay attention to what I do, not just what I say. From my experience, if you did that here at the Bank, you will see an organization that truly cares about its employees, that I’m a female. One example that comes to mind is from the auto industry in the 1980’s…- Ford engineers developed ‘pregnancy bellies’ and asked their design engineers to wear them to understand how to design cars for families—including families with pregnant women. While their intentions were good and they got a lot of good PR for the effort, why not just hire some competent women engineers instead of outfitting the men?

“A workforce segment that seems to be getting overlooked these days, and a particular passion while at the same time being a growth and performance-based culture. Mission statements can’t be just flowery words on a piece of paper. There also needs to be accountability at every level of the organization.”

“Patti maintains a website ( which includes a number of thought-provoking blogs on a variety of topics. One that caught my eye particularly was ‘Don’t Let the Crush of Work Crush You.’ Would you elaborate on what prompted you to write that blog, and give us an executive summary on what you mean by “Don’t Let the Crush of Work Crush You.”

PTR: “In most businesses the goal is to enhance profitability and to make your numbers. This is especially apparent in the 4th quarter of the year, when the push is on to deliver and capture revenue for year-end, and clients have cash that they need to spend or lose it as the fiscal year comes to close. This makes for a particularly crazy end to the year in the agency business. I’ve walked the halls (at previous employers) and have seen the stress and exhaustion on the faces of employees who don’t have much more to give. I’ve found that in these stressful moments it’s so important to not lose the human factor. Continue to maintain empathy for those around you. When we get super busy, it’s easy to lose sight of simple, every-day courtesies—like being kind to one another and treating each other with respect.

“It’s also important to not get caught up in the stress of the moment and try to maintain a close link to what’s truly important to you. We can and should turn our focus to our customers and colleagues, but at the same time we need to take care of ourselves. I’ve also found that maintain- ing a sense of humor is essential! Being able to laugh is a gift not just to ourselves, but to others. And I believe that makes our work better.”

7 Retirement Savings Tips for Women

Mary Randel—Retirement Benefits Officer, Wealth Management 

As a women, saving for retirement is a challenge. On average, a woman’s life expectancy is longer than a man’s, which requires her to accumulate a higher lifetime savings balance. But, what makes saving enough even more difficult, is that many women experience career interruptions to care for children and, later, elderly parents, which reduces their lifetime earnings. Complicating matters even further is a lingering perception that retirement savings supplement Social Security benefits, rather than the other way around.

Whatever the reasons, today, more than ever, saving for retirement is truly hard work.

What Women Can Do to Meet the Challenge

Many employers, regardless of their size, offer 401k plans to help their employees save for retirement. Even if you are just starting out—or have started your own company—participating in one of these tax-deferred plans is your first line of defense for achieving the type of retirement you deserve.

Other actions women can take to feel more confident they are doing enough for their “future self” include:

  • Make no excuses! When your employer offers to match the amount you’re saving, save at least the amount needed to earn the maximum amount being matched. An offer of matched savings is better than a free lunch, unlimited personal time or a snack drawer—it’s literally free money for you to spend in retirement.
  • Regardless of your current position, save. Don’t wait until you’re earning more or have fewer financial obligations. In the long run, how much you save isn’t as important as how early you start and how consistent you are.
  • Have something in reserve. The emergency cash reserve everyone is supposed to build in their 20s becomes even more important in retirement. Be sure to save not just for day-to-day expenses but also for the unexpected things, like replacing cars and furnaces or paying for homecare providers and rehabilitative services.
  • Redefine “old.” Approach retirement planning with the mindset that you will work at least until your age of full employment under Social Security. That’s not 62. For today’s workers, it’s actually between ages 66 and 67. Taking benefits at age 62 when they first become available will severely reduce your monthly benefit for the rest of your life.
  • Invest in yourself. The healthier you are, the more options you’re likely to have regarding your retirement. Preventable health issues can lead to retiring earlier than planned, reduce your quality of life in retirement and significantly erode savings. There is also another reason to invest in yourself: Many retirees find leisure isn’t as compelling as it once seemed. Maintaining your marketable skills, along with your health, makes doing work you find meaningful, as long as you choose to, an option.
  • Plan for both of you…and each of you. Many widowed spouses are surprised when they no longer have a second Social Security check coming in each month after the death of their spouse. Retirement planning should include savings arrangements that cover the needs of the couple but also incorporate the ongoing needs of the remaining spouse.
  • Invest to achieve your goals, not to appease your fears. Being overly cautious when investing can be detrimental to successfully saving for retirement. This is why many people opt to hire a professional. Whether this means having a wealth manager step in or investing in a diversified handful of mutual funds, outsourcing the decision-making can help get you closer to your goals.

Whether you want to supplement your employer’s retirement plan by saving on your own or are an employer who wants to make it easier for your staff to plan for their retirements as well, we can help. Contact me at 630-906-5500 or at You can also learn more about our options here. However you choose to contact us, we look forward to talking to you about how we can help you plan for the future you deserve.

Why Borrowing From Yourself Can Be a Smart Move

Terri Hanson, Vice President—Residential Lending  

With the recent appreciation in home values in our area, it’s likely your home equity has risen to a point where you’re living inside a literal nest egg. Accessing that equity to finance some of the other expenses in your life could be a smart financial move, given the current level of interest rates.

Be at Home With Your Loan: Borrowing Options

One option homeowners have for accessing the savings they’ve accumulated in their home is to refinance with a cash-out mortgage. This involves replacing your current mortgage with one that has a higher outstanding balance. It’s typically more beneficial when interest rates are below the rate of your existing mortgage.

When interest rates are rising, as they are expected to do, using a home equity loan is often more cost-effective than refinancing. Home equity loans are secured by residential real estate, which is typically your largest asset and tends to appreciate over time. So, they often have more attractive terms than unsecured personal loans or those secured by another asset, such as a car.

Home equity loans come in two “flavors”: fixed-rate home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Here’s what you need to know about each type.

Fixed-rate home equity loans are like having second mortgages. When you borrow, you receive a lump sum and begin repaying the loan immediately, with fixed monthly payments of principal and interest. The loans have a set maturity and are closed after you repay them.

As mentioned above, when rates are rising, home equity loans are helpful in minimizing borrowing costs. For instance, customers who don’t qualify for the best terms at auto dealerships or who buy used cars on a person-to-person basis may find using a home equity loan to buy a car could lower their cost of borrowing.

HELOCs are also secured by your home equity, but they offer greater flexibility. This is why many homeowners prefer them to fixed-rate home equity loans. They work like credit cards in that you only receive a bill when you have an outstanding balance. You can also borrow, repay and borrow again. When you borrow against a HELOC, only the interest on your current balance is due each month for a number of years before principal payments are expected. This enables you to decide how much you want to repay on the principal amount and when to do it.

Prior to retiring, many older homeowners will open a HELOC so they have access to emergency funds for unexpected repairs and medical expenses. There are no restrictions for how the money may be used. However, the interest rate charged on outstanding balances will fluctuate. At Old Second, HELOCs adjust with the U.S. Prime Rate (plus a margin). As interest rates go up or down, so will the interest due each month.

Is It the Right Thing to Do?

Building home equity creates options as you move through your financial life. In addition to the wealth you have in individual savings and investment and retirement accounts, it makes sense to manage the money you accumulate in your home as well. Whether it helps you afford college expenses, pay for a wedding, prepare your current home for sale or is a source of funds for your new home’s down payment, borrowing against your home equity can be a smart financial move. However, before taking out any loan, make sure you know your options and the terms and costs associated with each one. You can check our current rates and incentives here.

The Next Move Is Yours

To access a collection of home equity calculators that will help you understand how borrowing against your home would affect your budget, click here or contact us about your home equity loan options at 630-466-4843 ( We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do for you today.

If you are ready to start an online application, click here.









Source: TransUnion HELOC Study

Are You Ready for Prime Time?

Denise Rogers, Assistant Vice President—Senior Director

Being a community bank, we’re able to offer services that are just more personal. Offering our customers membership into our Prime Time Club is one of them. The membership not only provides access to a variety of free or discounted services, it can be your ticket to some truly memorable experiences.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

We try to keep a balance in our group travel experiences. In addition to the trips that involve relying on coach services and flying, we accommodate members who are only interested in day trips and those who want to drive places on their own.

The Prime Time Club brings you together with others in the community who share similar financial, social and travel interests. We’re able to buy tickets and arrange transportation at group discount rates to and from a variety of local venues: Broadway show performances at the Paramount Theatre here in Aurora to baseball games in Chicago, Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo.

Among our more popular events are the FREE Rules of Road refresher courses, which help members prepare for their written driver’s test, and our two-day, AARP Smart Driver program. This longer course leads to a certificate you can present to your insurance company in exchange for a discount on your premiums.

Where many of our members see the greatest value, however, is in the longer trips we plan. For instance, in 2019, we will be heading East for a weeklong “Chesapeake Bay Getaway” (April 24–May 1, 2019). The Prime Time Club will also be traveling to Iceland next summer (July 27–August 2, 2019) and in the fall experience a “Pacific Coastal Cruise” (October 12–21, 2019). As with the day trips, we make all the arrangements, including booking the transportation, accommodations and day tours. For members, it’s a worry-free way of seeing the best of what the world has to offer.

Fellow Travelers

For me, one rewarding aspect of being the director of the program goes beyond interacting with the travelers; also watching everyone enjoying themselves is fulfilling. It’s seeing those who’ve joined us for the first time without knowing anyone return home having made new acquaintances and connections within the community. Traveling beyond their daily routines literally makes the world a little smaller.

Whether you would benefit from the discounted banking services, are transitioning toward a life of increased leisure time or find yourself at a time in your life where you would like to meet new people, consider joining the Prime Time Club. The Club has been offered to customers for 36+ years. Currently, we are 6,200 members strong, and there is always room for one more.

Membership Details

  • Membership is open to any Old Second customer who:
    • Is 55 years or better.
    • Has a checking or Money Manager account
    • Has combined balances of $10,000 in Old Second Bank or trust accounts.
  • Prime Time checking with interest.
  • Debit card with rewards.
  • Free services include:
    • Money orders and cashier’s checks.
    • Signature guarantees and notary services.
    • A financial counseling session.
    • ATM withdrawals at all O2 ATMs and MoneyPass® ATMs (up to three free withdrawals at non-O2 and non-MoneyPass® ATMs).
    • No fee on gift cards.
    • Newsletter regarding upcoming events.
    • Annual member luncheon.
  • Discounts include:
    • Safe deposit box rental.
    • Extended tours and one-day trips.

To learn more about how Prime Time Club membership would benefit you, visit our website or give me a call at 630-365-5193. For an idea of what we’ve been up to and to review upcoming performances, seminars and road trips, check out our calendar.

Why Volunteering Matters to Us

Old Second’s Carrie Niesman receiving the Oswego Chamber of Commerce 2017 Volunteer of the Year award from Cory Holstead- Chairman of Board – Oswego Chamber

Carrie Niesman, Vice President—Regional Manager

Recently, I had the honor of being recognized by both the Oswego Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois State Senate as a 2017 Volunteer of the Year. It’s the third time I’ve received this distinction, which just further motivates me to keep contributing toward the enhancement our communities.

How We Pay It Forward

Being an agent for positive change is important to me. I grew up here, I live and work here, and I’m raising my family here. Volunteering is my way of ensuring that everything my family and I have received from and enjoy about our area remains available to help future generations flourish. I believe in paying it all forward.

As important as community involvement is to me, I appreciate that it is also a priority to my employer. Being involved in the communities we serve is part of what makes us Old Second bankers—and an aspect of the job I thoroughly embrace.

Old Second has deep roots in this area. It has been instrumental in the development of the neighborhoods and businesses that make up our communities. The bank sponsors a number of events, supports fundraising for organizations and accommodates employees like me so we can donate our time and energy to causes and activities that benefit customers and community members. This commitment lies at the heart of our company’s core values.

It’s the bank’s support that enables me to hold a variety of board positions in the areas served by the branch offices I manage. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Oswego, for instance, I’m able to meet regularly with many area business owners. These relationships help me understand the current challenges and opportunities local businesses face, which enables me to customize solutions to meet their needs and be a better banker.

Passion Gets Things Done

I am as passionate about being a representative of a community bank as I am about fulfilling the missions of the organizations on whose boards I serve to make positive impacts on our communities.

To learn more about what Old Second can do for you, and how we are involved in your community, contact me at 630-385-6697. I can’t wait to discuss what we can do together.

Carrie Niesman is currently:

  • 2017–2016 Past President/Club Advisor of the Oswego Junior Women’s Club  
  • Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Oswego Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-chair for the Ambassador Committee for the Oswego Chamber of Commerce
  • Ambassador for the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Committee Member for the W2W (Women in Business) group of the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Secretary on the Board of Directors for Oswego Panther Youth Basketball Association
  • Member of the Oswego Police Commission